Woman threatened with prison af­ter sui­cide bid

FIFE: Ex-foot­baller says ap­pear­ance in court af­ter in­ci­dent at bridge made her feel ‘like a crim­i­nal’

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - PAUL RODGER

“The sher­iff must never have ex­pe­ri­enced poor men­tal health. KIM­BER­LEY MACFAR­LANE

A for­mer women’s foot­baller who was ar­rested af­ter threat­en­ing to jump off a bridge while sui­ci­dal, said she was left feel­ing “like a crim­i­nal” af­ter a court threatened her with jail.

Kim­ber­ley Macfar­lane was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced a cus­to­dial sen­tence hav­ing “in­con­ve­nienced” the pub­lic with her sui­cide bid.

The 24-year-old tried to jump off a mo­tor­way bridge in Jan­uary 2018, re­sult­ing in a court case the fol­low­ing month at Dun­fermline Sher­iff Court.

She pre­vi­ously jumped off a bridge in Au­gust 2016, break­ing two ver­te­brae in her back and was in a brace for three months.

The court heard traf­fic was halted twice on suc­ces­sive days and road clo­sures put in place af­ter she threatened to jump from a mo­tor­way fly­over.

Sher­iff Craig Mc­sh­erry ad­mon­ished her but warned that if it be­came clear she still posed a risk of fur­ther of­fend­ing, prison was an op­tion.

He said: “A cus­to­dial sen­tence would at least mean the pub­lic are not be­ing in­con­ve­nienced in this way.”

Kim­ber­ley, from Dun­fermline, said she was left feel­ing “worth­less” fol­low­ing her court case in Fe­bru­ary.

She said: “I had run away from the men­tal health hos­pi­tal I was in then spent the night in the cells af­ter I nearly jumped off the bridge.

“When we got to hos­pi­tal it was hard, there was no one to talk to. Then I was stuck in this room by my­self.

“When I ap­peared in court the next day I was hand­cuffed to a G4S of­fi­cer and taken to a hold­ing room for four or five hours.

“If I was to hurt any­one it would only have been my­self.

“The sher­iff must never have ex­pe­ri­enced poor men­tal health be­cause he said I was be­ing an ‘in­con­ve­nience’ be­cause the road had to be shut.

“I felt like I was a crim­i­nal who had done some­thing wrong. My mum saw me in hand­cuffs.”

Kim­ber­ley was charged with breach of the peace and al­lowed to go home, but says her men­tal health was af­fected.

In a bid to change, Kim­ber­ley is now an NHS 24 Youth Fo­rum rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Fife and spoke to her lo­cal MSP for Dun­fermline, Shirley-anne Somerville.

She said: “Ad­di­tional sup­port should be re­quired as peo­ple are of­ten given bet­ter men­tal health care in jail rather than through the NHS. That’s ac­tu­ally quite wor­ry­ing.

“It would be good to shape how things are done in the fu­ture.”

The for­mer Dun­fermline Ath­letic Ladies cap­tain has a rare con­di­tion that leaves her in con­stant pain.

In 2015 she was hit in the face while play­ing foot­ball and had surgery to mend her squint nose.

She de­vel­oped Fowler’s Syn­drome which af­fects one in a mil­lion women and can leave them un­able to uri­nate.

Her own GP had not even heard of the rare ill­ness and ex­perts were baf­fled as to why it started af­ter a nose op­er­a­tion.

Af­ter be­ing ac­tive and healthy, Kim­ber­ley left hos­pi­tal with a catheter and bat­tles chronic pain and in­fec­tions.

Hear­ing of her case, elite sports char­ity Sup­port in Sport reached out and of­fered her free treat­ment.

They pro­vided a phys­io­ther­a­pist, who has helped with her back prob­lems, and she will get ac­cess to a sports doc­tor and sports psy­chol­o­gist this month.

On De­cem­ber 4, Kim­ber­ley took part in a spon­sored run at Ham­p­den Park in aid of Sup­port in Sport and the Ex­press Group, a Fife men­tal health char­ity.

She has since raised £1,070 for the causes close to her heart.

Kim­ber­ley is fo­cused on the year ahead, try­ing to im­prove her fit­ness and is hope­ful of play­ing foot­ball again.

Kim­ber­ley Macfar­lane play­ing foot­ball for Dun­fermline Ath­letic Ladies in 2013; on hol­i­day in Benidorm in 2015; and in hos­pi­tal in 2016, when she had surgery on her dam­aged nose.

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